Note: This feature is in the Sept. TT&C 2018 issue.
David Chastain in front of some of his collection.
Disassembled and primed 1957 Tonka stock truck.
David Chastain’s scratch-built 1957 ramp hoist tow truck. He built this model because Tonka never did.
Doug Staggs’ 1957 Tonka stock truck in “before” condition—when it needed a “little fixing.”
The model white GMC grain truck that David Chastain drove on his father’s farm. David scratch built this model.
David Chastain’s workshop with the tank in background.
From restoring farm trucks to building a 3/8 scale Army tank, David Chastain may be a “jack of all trades” when it comes to modeling, but he humbly sees himself as a “rescuer of old toys.”
“I just cannot stand by and let an old truck or construction equipment toy go into the trash. My enjoyment comes in bringing the toy back to life,” he said.
David was born and raised in Summitville, Ind. His father, Ralph, was a multi-generation farmer, so David learned lifelong skills at the knees of his father and Uncle Philip.
“I learned welding, metal fabrication and basic machinery, first by watching, and then by doing, to create, repurpose and think outside of the box, fixing broken equipment and keeping machinery running. The farm often purchased properties with old houses, and I spent many hours learning construction by rehabilitating these houses with my dad and uncle,” he shared. These skills later proved invaluable in scratch building models.
David’s interest in model building came early to him. “During the summer months, my family often traveled. My interest was piqued on one particular trip out west when we visited a machinery museum with a miniature ride-on steam train. That train inspired me to build my first ‘model’ car from scrap lumber in my dad’s shop. It was rudimentary and rough, but it had four wheels, two axles and steered with rope,” he said.
Like most farm boys, David played with toy tractors. “My mom, Sue, always laughs when she tells how I scooted around on my knees ‘planting’ the dining room carpet, farming the pile with my Ertl John Deere tractors and implements,” he said. He had his fair share of outdoor toys, too, such as his toy pickups and construction vehicles. “I remember playing in the sandbox with a Strutco bulldozer. Some of my other toys included a Tonka fire engine, a Nylint crane, and a Tonka car carrier,” he said.
Want to read the rest of the story? It's available in the SEPTEMBER TT&C 2018 magazine!
Download here: SEPT. TT&C 2018
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The Hellcat tank with the body nearly completed and the drive axle open for inspection.
Matthew, Mark and Luke work on their 3/8 scale Hellcat tank.
The heart of David Chastain’s Hellcat tank is its motor. All electrical components are housed inside of the tank.a
Doug Staggs’ 1957 Tonka stock truck after restoration.
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